Last week I had another graduation, though this was one I didn’t have on the calendar. It began on Tuesday when I mowed the lawn. I don’t remember what started the downward spiral, but the drone of the mower wasn’t drowning out the thoughts that kept pummeling my mind. Somehow I had let my mind wander and had opened a door to a room filled with pain. I soon found myself in a battle that was about as intense as they get. The thoughts coming from outside my mind (so you know the source) kept trying to get me to become bitter or resentful or pass judgment on those who attacked me. I kept forgiving…and reforgiving…and forgiving again. I cried and repented for my part in things (yet again) and wondered what was it going to take for me to finally get over what happened. Then I had an interesting thought. Peter asked Jesus how many times should he forgive his brother when his brother sins against him. The answer probably seemed way out there to Peter when Jesus told him seventy times seven. So was that seventy times seven different sins or was it one offense that kept coming back to the mind and each time forgiveness had to be extended? The answer is probably yes, lol. In any event, I determined I would forgive as many times as it took, that I would never allow bitterness or anger or resentment in my heart. I felt that day was a test, and that as grueling as it was, I had passed.
A couple days later I was at the store and had to buy a few things. The total was $19.76 and the cashier said, “That was a good year.” I told her yes, that was the year I graduated. As I walked out to the car I’m not sure if it was an impression or if I heard that it was going to be my graduation day. I kind of tucked that away but I could feel a sense of anticipation. Soon afterward a friend came to visit and we talked for a couple hours. Her wisdom and the grace and love she extended brought revelation and healing and by the time she left I realized that I was no longer the person I used to be. A shift had taken place and I could release the past and move on.
I decided to go to Global in the evening to hear Bob Hazlett speak and went early enough to catch worship. When I graduated from my internship at Global back in 2014 I had put together a compilation video and there was a song I used that is to this day one of my favorites, Bethel’s “Chasing You.” It always takes me back to that graduation. I had never heard it played live in worship anywhere, so you know what’s coming. Let’s just say I sang my heart out :)
Jesus doesn’t always come to still the storms in your life; He comes to show you He is more powerful. Bob’s message what just what I needed to hear. He spoke on “Nextpectation”, which describes the place between where God has us right now and the place He is taking us to. It’s that moment of anxiety/anticipation between the natural and the supernatural, the moment between the seen and unseen, an expectation about what God is going to do next. If I knew what was going to happen I wouldn’t need hope. Hope is always planted in a place of uncertainty. But on our way from glory to glory, something needs to move out of the way. If you’re going to take this new place, something has to be displaced. So no matter what you’re going through or what you’ve been through you are standing in the place of grace, and grace enables you to fall forward. So I boast in the hope of what God is about to do even though I don’t know what that will look like. Whatever it is, though, I am sure it is beyond what I can even ask or think. It has to be because it’s from Him!
A week has flown by already. So far so good! 2016 has been pretty sweet and I’m enjoying my “pic a day” project. I’ve been taking it easy, still healing from the back injury on Christmas Day, and find that slowing down has been a very good thing. For one who used to measure her days in terms of what got checked off a list, it would appear I’ve not had a productive year, but I’m learning to rest. I am still, however, waking up most nights in the middle of the night and that can make me quite tired through the day. After what seemed like an hour-long “personal tropical vacation” I finally got up and am writing this. I suppose my body is going through “climate change” lol. I could write a book: “Is This a Heat Flash or is This Holy Spirit?” except I don’t know the answer! Think I’ll plug in my earplugs and listen to today’s “Pray As You Go” reading. Maybe I’ll get some answers :)
Kevin took off work Friday because there’s a conference at Global (“Focus”) with Larry Randolph, David Wagner, and Bob Hazlett we’re going to attend together. I think the last conference I attended was VOP last April. Should be an interesting one, but in any event it’s a good way to start the New Year. And who knows? Maybe God has a word for us there.
…and His mercy endures forever! I’m not sure where to start or what to say (because there’s so much I could say!) as I’ll soon have to start getting ready for the last day of the conference. I guess I’ll talk some about yesterday, a day I’d been at first dreading and then gradually looking forward to since the day I signed up for VOP, i.e., Prophetic Presbytery Day. This is the highlight of the conference for many who attend. Jeff Myers shared how many emails he gets about it, and there is no doubt that people had been looking forward to this day with much anticipation. For some (and I was one of those persons last year) it is a life-changing experience. There is no other place they can go to receive a prophetic word as most churches don’t even know what that is let alone offer it to their members. The way it worked was each person had a time placed on their name badge, and ten minutes before that time they left the conference and followed the arrows on the floor to a room. At the appropriate time they were ushered in and stood on an X on the floor. There were around forty of them placed along the outer perimeter of the room. They were told to bring their recorders, and most used their phones, although Global provided some for those who didn’t have them. A student would stand in front of each person, and Jen Dragt would announce time to start. The student would then have one minute (yes, I know!) to give a prophetic word to the person in front of them, then Jen would use her megaphone to say time to move, and the students would rotate clockwise to the next person. They had to do it this year because VOP was maxed out around 1,200 people, and that was the best way (logistically speaking) to “get the job done.”
Was I nervous? A little :) Did God come through? He always does! That doesn’t mean I feel as if I hit the target every time, because it usually would take me 10-20 seconds to get something, and that doesn’t leave much time for speaking into it. The best words were those I got pictures for, which come so fast I’m sure I sometimes missed them. Other times something on or about the person would be highlighted. After the fact I remembered a couple of the words I had given and realized there was more I could have said, but I just had to trust that God would use another student following me to deliver it. There are a couple of people I am keeping an eye out for today because I’d like to talk to them some more and encourage them. The feedback was good, for the most part, although at one point I was at the book table when a group was let out (students don’t serve the entire day but take shifts) and you could tell by what a couple of these ladies were saying that they weren’t happy with what they received (not that it was bad, but wasn’t what they’d hoped to hear I guess). I do believe that most were ministered to, and the stretch was good for me. I am becoming more comfortable with prophecy, although I very much prefer when God gives me a word for someone and drops it on me out of the blue. That had happened in the day before when I looked at a beautiful woman of color and heard “strong tower.” During worship I went over to her and, using that as a springboard, gave her a word which really blessed her (love when that happens!).
Bob Hazlett spoke last night and it was awesome as usual :) The verse I opened this post with was the one he kept referring to, and we had many opportunities to speak it out! At the end of the service he gave an amazing prophetic word to Randy that included financial blessing. Then he had Steve Swanson come up to play a worship song and as we were singing Randy walked up to Bob on the stage and showed him something on his phone and then they hugged and then he went over to Steve and showed it to him and Steve’s jaw dropped. Then he took the mic and made an announcement that that evening’s offering had topped a million dollars! (And the offering was taken before Bob even spoke.) I think it goes without saying that a celebration broke out, and it was glorious, people breaking out in praise and worship! I slipped to the front and got some pictures. Definitely a Kodak moment!
I’m looking forward to this last day. Randy speaks this morning and then there is a time of impartation. I think it’s gonna get a little crazy (in the best possible way). Tonight there is a healing service at the ARC. It’s probably gonna be packed to the gills, and I don’t know I will be able to stay. I’d really hate to miss it, but I may need to come home. Guess we’ll see! For now the sun is shining (though rain is on the way–for which we praise God because it is soooo dry) and I’m gonna get going. Hopefully I’ll have time to post more tomorrow! Cya then :)
So does the short title tell you anything? This is going to be a short post (I think anyway). I only got home at 8:30 because we had outreach after class (and class ran late because there was some “inreach” going on). Anyway Bob Hazlett was back for the morning session. He has some great one liners. I especially like “God is so good He has to be true!” That and when you’re confronted with a lot of doubt and “buts” that you should “kick buts until the only but there’s left is But God!” lol. Trisha Frost (Jack Frost’s widow) spoke in the afternoon. She’s amazing. She hit two deer within five minutes of each other getting here, that’s how much the enemy wanted to keep her away. Here are some fav quotes of hers: “The Bible says it’s criminal to live cautiously.” In discussing the death of her husband, she said she had to “endure the unexplainable so she could experience the unforgettable.” “If you treat somebody as ordinary, you dishonor them.” And a special favorite: “Fear-based religion produces rebellion, not relationship.”
And now I need to go because I have a book to finish reading and I have some contending to do. There’s a lot more that I’m not telling you because of time and also because it’s too personal. It was certainly an up-and-down day for me in many ways. I’m still trying to process it all.
…is stillness. “In quietness and confidence is my strength.” Today was much different than last week. I’d say last week’s flavor was joy. I have the sense of my soul having been quieted, and that’s a good thing. I suppose the one hour of sleep I got last night could have something to do with it too, lol. (You know it’s going to be a rough night when your restless leg syndrome wakes you up!)
Today Bob Hazlett from Touch of Fire Ministries came. I was introduced to his teaching at the VOP conference in April. But before I start with his teaching I’ll share a couple of the testimonies that were shared after worship. On Saturday at Baltimore one of the young men in the group experienced a partial healing of a congenital deafness in his right ear when he went through the “fire tunnel” (we worshiped before we went out to do ministry). Anyway, it cracked and popped the rest of that day and into Sunday. Sunday night about ten young people got together to worship God, and at some point during the worship he said it felt as if something was being pulled out of his ear, and he’s not deaf anymore! His hearing has been restored! God is so awesome. Another young man at the same gathering experienced healing in his back and one of his legs which was shorter than the other grew out. There was also another testimony from Saturday about a woman who came for prayer to one of the outreaches. She arrived out of breath and said she had liver problems. She was prayed over and she went away skipping (literally!).
So back to Bob and today and his texts included the first three chapters of Genesis as well as Hebrews 9. Bob spoke about prophetic ministry. Among other things, he said that prophecy is not about identifying the problem. Prophecy gives you the ability to address the potential. As God’s thoughts come from a place of creativity, so it is with ours. It’s not just saying something, it’s actually creating something with our words. Your ability to prophesy will be according to the measure of your faith. The effectiveness of your prophecy will be according to the measure of your love. A clear conscience is necessary for there to be confidence in your life, and you can’t pray with confidence if you have guilt. We are so busy trying not to be something that we can’t become what we were created to be! Religion says if you do you will be. But holiness is the fruit of righteousness, and God says if you be you will do!
I especially liked when he talked about how we view the gifts of the Holy Spirit sort of like a big pie cut into nine pieces. You can have this piece and someone else can have another, and…no! That’s not what it’s like! We have access to all the gifts of the Spirit. We should be having a huge pie-eating fest! That made me chuckle :)
This is a short entry, but I really have to get some rest tonight. I’m actually surprised that I’m still conscious, lol :)